Michigan Agency for Energy warns of dangers of free 'farm tap' natural gas service, offers rebate for switching providers
Rick Snyder, Governor
Anne Armstrong Cusack, Executive Director
August 2, 2018 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LANSING, Mich. – Farmers and rural property owners may qualify for incentives under the new Farm Tap Appliance Rebate Program by the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) if they stop using farm taps for free natural gas service.
Farm taps are individual service lines that are connected to natural gas pipelines, equipment, or wells. If the proper safety devices are not installed and maintained, free farm taps can pose a risk to rural residents.
“While the number of homes and businesses in Michigan with free farm taps that we know of is small, it is vitally important for the safety of families and communities that users abandon the farm taps and sign up with a different energy provider,” said Anne Armstrong Cusack, executive director of MAE. “Our Farm Tap Appliance Rebate Program is a strong incentive to make the switch to a new provider as soon as possible.”
Some of the risks from free farm taps:
Farm taps can be dangerous: In many cases, the gas delivered by a farm tap has not been odorized, so there is not a distinctive rotten egg smell if there is a leak in the line. If there is a leak, using lights, phones, or appliances can cause an explosion.
Gas lines can be damaged: Devices meant to regulate the pressure in natural gas lines may not be installed or working properly, which could make service lines more susceptible to leaks.
Appliances could be at risk: Unprocessed gas feeding appliances or farm machinery can damage equipment, potentially causing a fire.
Insurance may be inadequate: A homeowner or business policy may not fully cover property damage or personal injury that results from a farm tap mishap.
The Farm Tap Appliance Rebate Program offers up to $1,500 to help cover the cost of new, safer, and more efficient appliances. The rebates can be used on oven ranges, hot water heaters, furnaces, clothes dryers, or smart energy devices.
To qualify for the rebate, property owners must show they have permanently terminated their service with the free farm tap natural gas provider and established an account with a local utility, or a provider of propane or wood pellets.
Call MAE at (517) 284-8330 or the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) at (800) 292-9555 with questions about free farm taps or the Farm Tap Appliance Rebate Program. For more information, go to the MAE website at www.michigan.gov/energy, which includes a link to the rebate program application form.